Orthodox worship to a Western Rite
26-07-2008, 02:35 PM
Plagiarism.... by me
Many thanks Severus. It does clarify things. I found the following criticisms at Wikipedia and reinforced my opinions of W'rite . Sorry if it's a bit long but I didn't like to edit it. :wink:
Despite the fact that the Western Rite is an established part of the Orthodoxy in North America, it does not exist without the presence of some vocal critics. These criticisms run the gamut from objections of a liturgical or historical nature to direct claims that members of the Western Rite are not actually Orthodox in their praxis.
Byzantine Rite only
Many commentators argue that the only rite which is and can be acceptable to Orthodoxy is the Byzantine Rite, whether in its Greek or Slavic usages. Many Orthodox Christians currently boast of the Church's liturgical homogeneity, claiming that, no matter where one might go in the Orthodox world, the liturgy will be familiar, even if it's in another language. Of course, as Paul Meyendorff points out that despite the fact that the majority of Orthodox Churches use the Byzantine Rite, they often use it in very different ways, particularly in North America with the presence of items such as pews, organs, weekly communication of all the laity, and a much shorter liturgy.
In addition, even if the claim of the homogenous celebration of the Byzantine Rite could be claimed for the modern period, this has historically not been the case. During the period of separation of the Eastern and Western Churches, it would have been impossible to speak of the Byzantine Rite as being the only liturgy in use, even in the Eastern Church. The Rite of Constantinople only acquired dominance in the Eastern Church through a slow process that was not complete until at least the thirteenth century.
Lack of liturgical continuity
In continuation of the above criticism, many commentators argue that while the Western Rite was at one time Orthodox, its Orthodoxy ceased after the Great Schism. This argument essentially states that, because the Western Rite died out in the Church, and because a continuous living tradition is a necessary element of liturgical practice, the Western Rite ought to be abandoned and only the Byzantine Rite should be utilized.
Western Rite advocates have pointed out that there is nothing inherently unorthodox about creating a new rite for the Church provided that the Orthodoxy of the rite is sound. The Byzantine Rite has grown in ways which have caused liturgies and devotions to develop in one location without subsequent universal practice. Such services would have been invented from scratch based on pastoral need at some point, yet few Western Rite critics would say that such services or devotions should be abandoned, thus perceiving to lend to the legitimacy of restoring an ancient rite of the undivided Church.
Furthermore, it is also argued that the Divine Liturgy of St. James, once nearly extinct except in Jerusalem and the island of Kephalonia, has in the present time enjoyed resurgence outside of its traditional strongholds for use on October 23 to celebrate the Feast of St. James.
The Western Rite is Reverse Uniatism
The situation of Western Orthodox parishes has been compared with the status of the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches (often called "Uniate" by Orthodox Christians) in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. For centuries, there have been hierarchical churches in full communion with Rome. Eastern Catholics, despite usages that more closely resemble the majority of Orthodox Christians, largely share a common dogma with Latin Catholics, a situation that is called 'uniatism'. Analogously, the Western Rite Orthodox share the same faith as their Byzantine Rite Orthodox brethren despite a different liturgical rite.
However, generally unlike Eastern Catholics, Western Rite Orthodox congregations are not the result of historically complex political and ecclesiastical developments, but rather of small-scale conversion to Orthodoxy by individuals and congregations. Also, Western Rite congregations all adhere to the same bishops as their Byzantine brethren; they do not constitute a separate church of their own. Criticism of the Western Rite based on its similarity with the 'Uniates' has been called guilt by association, overplaying a superficial similarity of form. Because the ideas are analogous, the argument goes, they must therefore share the same negative place as the so called "Uniates" do in the minds of some. Yet the more firmly established criticisms of uniatism usually have nothing to do with rite but rather with dogma, ecclesiology, and allegedly subversive missionary work.
The Western Rite is divisive
Another criticism is that the Western Rite is inherently divisive. Following different liturgical traditions than their neighboring Byzantine Rite Orthodox Christians, those using the Western Rite do not share liturgical unity with them and present an unfamiliar face to the majority of Orthodox Christians. This sentiment is expressed most famously by Kallistos Ware, who was particularly concerned about the further fragmentation of Orthodoxy in non-Orthodox countries, in this case in Britain.
Whether the Western Rite survive in the Orthodox Church and will be accepted by the majority who follow the Byzantine Rite remains yet to be seen. In the meantime, the Byzantine Rite bishops who oversee Western Rite parishes and many who oversee no Western Rite parishes continue to declare the Western Orthodox to be Orthodox Christians and regard them as fully in communion with the rest of the Church. Though there have been negative appraisals on both sides of the Western Rite issue, supporters of the Western Rite claim that there is nothing inherently divisive about having a separate liturgical practice, particularly since these churches remain under the pastoral care of their diocesan bishop rather than a Western Rite bishop. As yet, there are no schisms within the episcopacy of the Orthodox Church regarding the issue of Western Rite parishes.
Conversion without conversion
Another criticism often leveled against the Western Rite is based on the fact that the majority of the members of Western Rite parishes are converts to Orthodoxy. The argument states that Christians want to be Orthodox but ?not too Orthodox,? so they keep their familiar rites under a new bishop. The unstated assumption behind this argument, however, is similar to the argument against all non-Byzantine liturgical traditions: that the Orthodox Church includes only the Byzantine Rite, and so if one wants to be truly Orthodox, one must also be Byzantine."
The bit about conversion without conversion especially chimed with me. Anyway,
Love and peace,
Enter eagerly into the treasure-house that lies within you and so you will see the treasure house of heaven:for the two are the same and there is but one single entry to them both. (St Isaac the Syrian)
|Messages In This Thread|
Abba Seraphim's comments on the Western Rite in Orthodoxy - Severus - 17-07-2008, 06:22 AM
Plagiarism.... by me - Stefanos - 26-07-2008 02:35 PM